The couple was last seen boarding a plane from Kauai to Maui on Sunday, East Idaho News and Hawaii News Now reported. According to East Idaho News, Vallow and Daybell had been living in a gated community, staying at resorts and biking around Kauai.
Vallow missed a court-ordered deadline in January to bring her children — Joshua “JJ” Vallow, 7, and Tylee Ryan, 17 — to Idaho authorities. The two kids have not been seen since Sept. 23 in Rexburg and police said they were missing in December.
Authorities said Vallow could face a contempt of court charge for missing the deadline. But beside being sought for questioning, neither she nor Daybell have been arrested or faced any charges tied to the children’s disappearance.
Vallow and Daybell, an author who has written and published dozens of books on apocalyptic events and near-death experiences, married weeks after Daybell’s wife of 30 years and mother of his five children died in October.
Tammy Daybell’s death was initially believed to be of natural causes but her remains were exhumed in December and autopsy results are pending as police say her death “may be suspicious.”
Also linked to the case are deaths surrounding Lori Vallow. Her ex-husband Joseph Ryan, the biological father of Tylee Ryan, died of an apparent heart attack in 2018; ex-husband Charles Vallow died from two gunshot wounds to the chest after Lori’s brother Alex Cox shot him in July; and Cox died in December with the cause of death still unknown.
Authorities have not said how, if at all, the cases are connected. Many details of the legal proceedings in the disappearance of Joshua and Tylee have been sealed.
After police announced Joshua and Tylee were missing, an attorney, Sean Bartholick, issued a statement on the couple’s behalf, calling Chad Daybell “a loving husband” and Lori Vallow “a devoted mother.”
While the circumstances may appear suspicious, prosecutors will wait until they have a solid case to file criminal charges, said Samuel Newton, an assistant professor of law at the University of Idaho who worked on the defense in the Elizabeth Smart case.
“I’m willing to bet what everyone is trying to do is get enough evidence to get an arrest and prove some sort of felony,” Newton told USA TODAY.
Arresting Vallow on the contempt of court charge may not help prosecutors if they do not have a strong case yet, Newton said. Idaho would also have to pay to extradite her from Hawaii, too.
“What they don’t want to do is to file a charge and then have it get dismissed because there’s nothing to support it,” he said.
A potential crime in each death and disappearance surrounding the couple will have to be proved independent of each other, he added.
“The rules of evidence … don’t typically allow us to judge a person based on their past conduct. You’re supposed to judge them on the facts of this case,” Newton said.
Follow USA TODAY’s Ryan Miller on Twitter @RyanW_Miller